SRINAGAR: Suspected militants and their over-ground activists have stepped up their activities across Kashmir to gain sway over the persisting umbrage among the Valley’s population against the Centre’s abrogating Article 370 and bifurcating Jammu & Kashmir into two union territories (UTs).
Over the past week, gunmen have repeatedly appeared in various Valley areas to issue diktats to traders on when to open or close their establishments.
Vendors and other sections of trading community too are being “guided” on the choice of their working schedule.
Many youth owing allegiance to the “freedom” cause too have become active on similar lines. In most cases, the diktats issued by them are religiously followed by the traders and others.
However, groups of youth have, in certain places, attacked shops for operating beyond “permissible” hours. Running cars and other vehicles too have been targeted by them.
In one such incident, an electronics store in southern Shopian town owned by one Sajad Ahmed Chirag was torched by a group of youth on Thursday. In neighbouring Kaccha Dora, two trucks which had arrived in the village to transport apples out were also attacked.
Earlier, several shops were damaged in similar fashion in Beeru area of central district of Budgam. In Srinagar, dozens of private cars were damaged and a car was set ablaze in north-western Baramulla district in the beginning of the week.
The Kashmir Valley has been shut due to a spontaneous strike by traders and transporters since August 5 when the Parliament approved a resolution abrogating special status to J&K under Article 370 of the Constitution and a bill for splitting the state into two UTs.
However, the authorities have been able to “encourage” vendors to resume their work in some up town Srinagar areas including Residency Road. The movement of private vehicles on the roads too has increased lately.